My name is Ross and I was adopted as a kitten from a Humane Society. I travelled the world (two blocks around my house) and now, I’m studying to become a lawyer! Look at my sharp eyes! Can you see “the judge” in me?
So, dear George, if you continue to have problems with your lovely, but sneaky secretary just let me know! You can sue her and I can represent you! I’m really good in “criminal code”. THAT will put an end to her mischief!
So, what do you say?
I like the idea. I really do. Of course, it is obvious to us cats that we should have locus standi or legal standing in human courts. Only in that way could we, or any other animals, have any chance of ending human cruelty, neglect and exploitation. Only in that way could our current inadequate legal protections be properly enforced.
This idea has been put forward by Harvard Law Professor Cass R. Sunstein in a paper titled The Rights of Animals: A Very Short Primer. You can get the full document at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=323661 It's worth reading. He is a friend of President Obama, (who has shown a regrettable preference for dogs).
We cats would still need human representation at court (human judges being too stupid to understand us) but at least the point would be made that the victim is allowed access to justice. Like slaves we have no rights at all in the eyes of human law. At the moment there is no justice for animals except when various humane societies bring a court case. In deciding whether to do this, these organisations naturally take into account not just the nature of the crime but also whether they have the funds etc. If we could sue direct, all we would need to do would be to purrsuade one single human, rather than an organisation, to put up the money for the case.
One other point. Should humans have locus standi in feline courts? I think not. I do not think they have the intellectual capacity to understand what is going on.
Now let us turn to Celia, my erring secretary who has stolen my ideas and put them into a book, Cats Behaving Badly. This would be a question of copyright law, rather than cruelty or welfare law. In the UK courts to be successful I should have to prove she had stolen, not my concepts but my very words. I consider it might not succeed.
Besides, she is my pet. I love her even though she is maddeningly stupid, unreliable, a poor servant, and more or less bald. She can't help it. She really can't.
Yours with mixed feelings
PS. Cynical cats have told me that they think this is just human lawyers thinking up new ways to make money.